Almost English

Almost English

Book - 2013
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Home is a foreign country: they do things differently there. In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen-year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother, Laura, and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family’s crushing expectations and their fierce unEnglish pride, by their strange traditions and stranger foods, she knows she must escape. But the place she runs to makes her feel even more of an outsider. At Combe Abbey, a traditional English public school for which her family have sacrificed everything, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. She is the awkward half-foreign girl who doesn’t know how to fit in, flirt or even be. And as a semi-Hungarian Londoner, who is she? In the meantime, her mother Laura, an alien in this strange universe, has her own painful secrets to deal with, especially the return of the last man she’d expect back in her life. She isn’t noticing that, at Combe Abbey, things are starting to go terribly wrong.
Publisher: London : Mantle, 2013
ISBN: 9781447219972
Branch Call Number: FICTION MENDE...C
Characteristics: 390 pages


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Jun 09, 2015

[2014 Baily Prize FINALIST, 2014 Goldsmith Prize FINALIST]. A multicultural story. Marina lives with her British mother and her Hungarian aunts and grandmother in a tiny flat in London. The girl’s father has disappeared. Marina has won a place at a British boarding school where her background, family circumstances, economic status, etc. serve to define her; leaving her to feel isolated. The expectations of her relatives prevent her from clearly expressing herself, while her mother is also hindered by expectation. While I felt it was a tad whiney, it did portray the striations of English society and the dreams that immigrants place on future generations in a realistic manner.

Jul 07, 2014

Almost... interesting. I tried to like this book but stopped after 150 pages. I rarely stop reading a book but couldn't keep going. If was difficult to enjoy characters, I didn't really care what happened to them. There was something about the writing that just didn't get me hooked. I don't recommend it.

Bierlingen Jan 17, 2014

I'm sorry to say that I am halfway through this book and the best part of it so far is the title. It serves a purpose in that I do most of my reading at bedtime and it is quite sleep inducing. Character building is slow and unclear, the living situation barely believable and the naivety of the mother Laura and daughter Marina unbelievable. I'm not sure that I will finish it.

rowanquincy Jan 09, 2014

A dreary book. I didn't get interested in any of the characters. The Hungarian aunts were not distinct enough from each other. The plot was very contrived. Hungarian words were used but not defined in the glossary, I found this annoying. I will not look for other books by this author.


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